If the first half of your 2014 was anything like it was here at MINES, it was jam-packed with exciting changes and new prospects. But don’t worry if the year has not been as busy as you’d prefer since we still have nearly half a year of opportunity before 2015. So take a deep breath, relax, and continue to strive for balance and wellbeing in your life as we tackle Q3 together; but before we go forward, let’s look backwards for a moment.
As usual, “Bridging the Gap” aims to take everything MINES has been going on about for the last quarter and break down the topics and the connections that they have with one another, as well as your life and the lives of those around you, to make sure that the information we share can have the best possible impact on your view of wellbeing, and bring balance into your life every day. The second quarter of 2014 saw MINES introduce a whole host of new resources, inspirational stories, and wellbeing topics. Let’s start with the wellbeing topics first.
In April, we introduced all new wellbeing topics: intellectual and social wellbeing. While exploring these topics we looked at the importance of being mindful of the influence that your friends, family, and society in general have on your cognitive processes. Next, in May we continued our examination of intellectual wellbeing, this time looking at its connection with financial wellbeing. We looked at the complex implications these two topics have on each other on the individual as well as societal levels.Then in June, financial wellbeing carried over and was analyzed alongside social wellbeing. We looked at social circles and our financial statuses effect on one another as we interact in our social lives. Finally, earlier this month we linked physical wellbeing with a completely fresh topic, environmental wellbeing, prompting a look at our physical self and its place in the world around us.
As our readers have come to expect from our blog, last quarter was filled with a wide array of diverse content from all corners of the MINES Team. Dr. Robert Mines chimed in with posts on Overcoming Adversity, Compassion, and the Psychology of Diabetes. Marcia Kent’s ever-inspirational “reFrame” covered hikes up Mt. Kilimanjaro and how to get the most out of all 1,440 seconds in a day. One of our case managers, Heather DeKeyser, also contributed with a compelling look at resilience and its role in our lives as both an internal resource as well as a trait we look for in others to help guide us.
MINES has a whole assortment of thought-provoking, and inspirational content headed your way over the next few months. There are plenty more topics in the pipeline and connections to be made. On our blog you can look forward to many new stories and ideas starting right away with members of our BizPsych team taking a multi-angled look at questions and trends they see while training organizations on generational differences, with much more to come from the rest of MINES.
Whew! That’s about it for now but if you have questions or comments about this or anything else MINES is up to please let us know, we would love to hear from you. You can comment on our posts here or don’t forget to email us and let us know what is on your mind. See you next time!
To your total wellbeing
-The MINES Team
I want to add a few dimensions to Dani’s blog about our “onslaught” of training requests regarding generational issues in the workplace. The first is an observation about the process of facilitating these events; I am a semi-typical baby boomer. Dani is a pretty typical Gen Y. As we have prepared, discussed and engaged multiple clients in this topic, we have explored our own tendencies, biases and patterns. We have been able to present much of this openly in sessions with clients. It has not only been fun, but also increased our own empathy as well as clients. As we have fun teasing one another about the generational stereotypes it seems to open up insight and discussion in the sessions. There is a sense of denial and/or political correctness that takes some pushing through to help people acknowledge some of the true obstacles they carry around this issue. This is a primary first step for us to engage in this topic in a meaningful way, both for ourselves and clients.
The second dimension for us to consider is: “why does this topic seem to have renewed fervor at this time”. I’m not sure we have gotten a good answer to this question yet; only that it does seem to be so. I recently attended the ASTD (now ATD –Association for Talent Development) conference in Washington DC. This is THE international conference in training and development. There were multiple sessions devoted to this topic, including some forefront writers. Possibly the current movement of generations is a factor; Baby Boomers starting to move out & retire- Gen X and Y much more prevalent in the workforce and in leadership positions. I think the best way to address it is to ask you: Do you see this becoming a critical issue in your organization and what are you doing to address it?
The final dimension I want to add in line with the theme of BizPsych’s blogs for this year is what have we actually done to promote meaningful change in our training sessions. Truly, process we have initiated in these trainings was borrowed from a training on this topic I attended a number of years ago. This presention was at our local EAP Association meeting. I have been extremely interested in this topic for a long time and attended many trainings on the topic. Always interesting but they left me a little flat i.e. so, we talked about the stereotype differences between generations & why they are there, but what now? In the training at our EAPA chapter they put together a panel representing each generation. Now that was inspiring! I walked away with some truly changed beliefs and experiences.
So, we have incorporated this concept into all of our presentations. We put together a panel before the training of representatives from each generation. We discuss the issues related to this topic that are real and relevant to their particular work culture. We have created questions for the panelists to explore and meet ahead of the training to prepare the discussion. Fantastic insights have emerged from these discussions both in the prep meeting and training itself. A few of these were:
- From a Baby Boomer in a very traditional culture: ‘Maybe I need to reconsider my resistance to requests for remote work and focus more on results than butts in the seat…”
- From a Gen X: ‘I realized that the Gen Y’s I was supervising wanted direction from me about their career development, but always with their input…”
- From a Gen Y: instead of focusing on Baby Boomers just resisting change, perhaps we can honor the best of the past and engage in their ability to adapt…”
- Patrick Hiester
The Mount Marathon event, an athletically dazzling feat of speed and agility held on Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, captured my imagination when I heard a story about it on NPR on my way home from work. Melissa Block was interviewing Christy Marvin, a mother of three young children, who was the winner in the women’s division last year.
Legend has it that the event started as a bet between two sailors. Race 3,022 feet to the top of Mount Marathon and back down in an hour. The first attempt in 1908 was a failure. Today, hundreds do whatever it takes to survive the challenge of the summiting and returning from the Mount.
Leading racers will typically reach the peak in 33–40 minutes and reach the finish line from the peak down in 10–15 minutes. Average speed uphill is 2 mph. Average speed downhill is 12 mph. It is not uncommon for the racers crossing the finish line to be injured or bleeding and covered in mud.
The names of the various routes give you an idea of just how challenging this event is! “The roots” is a tangled, jungle-like ascent up narrow path ways; “The cliffs” is a steep, rocky path full of loose, sharp rocks called “scree” where one wrong step can be disastrous. And “the gut”, is the most daunting part of the rock to some racers because this is where most of the injuries take place. As one runner described it, “The Mountain is a delicate dance of control, courage and perhaps a little bit of crazy.”
Melissa asked Christy a number of questions including the universal question, “Why, in the world would anyone want to do something like this?” Runners have fallen off cliffs, broken multiple bones and a few have perished, never to be found. Christy described how being in the mountains connects her to her values, the thrill of the adventure and the satisfaction of preparing for the run. Melissa asked her how she trains for this event given that she has three young children. Christy shared that she would often bring her children along when she would train. She talked about the various training techniques including “hill training” which involves repeated runs up and down the same hill.
Christy described one training session when she placed her youngest son, who was two years old at the time, on top of the hill. “I just didn’t feel like I had it in me to do another hill. I was tired and didn’t feel like pushing myself that day. All of sudden, I saw my 2 year old clapping his hands and him heard him scream out loud, “Dig, Mama, Dig”! There was no way I was going to let my son down and so I dug as hard as I could to run up that hill!”
Inspiration, encouragement and support can sometimes come from the most unlikely of places. We all have our versions of a Mount Marathon; An epic project, a problematic situation at home, a challenging colleague or an unreasonable and demanding client that seems impossible to please.
This month, I encourage you to honor that you have what it takes to “dig” and go the distance. Celebrate and remember the times in your life when you did just that! Invite people to be your cheerleaders, support you with wild optimism and unbridled enthusiasm as you tackle your version of “Mount Marathon.”
By sharing your goals and your vision, you just might hear an unexpected voice cheering you on, encouraging you and telling you that YOU have what it takes “to dig and go the distance.”
Here’s to you having the confidence, healthy mindset and inner strength to be able to “dig” when you need to!
*Photo provided by Ron Niebrugge/www.WildNatureImages.com
At MINES, we have recently received an influx of generational trainings from workplaces of all sizes and industries. These trainings range from, “Appreciating Generational Differences in the Workplace”, “Here Come the Millennials”, and “Best Practices in Leading and Managing Multiple Generations”. Interestingly though, even though we have had a number of requests, we have a number of participants in our trainings which are rather skeptical about the need for these trainings. No, no, it’s not just Generation X, the skepticism is articulated by individuals in many organizations. Are you skeptical? If you are, you are not alone. Some embrace this topic and find it absolutely essential in the workplace, this is demonstrated by comments such as “I can’t believe how entitled my millennial employees are, they expect to be able to work from home and move up immediately.” “I don’t understand why my Gen X colleague prefers to work alone rather than with me.” “Why do those baby boomers get along so well with the Gen Y’s?” These questions are just a taste of the questions that we hear while delving into this topic.
Typically, the initial intent behind offering these trainings is to ease the tensions between the different generations. These trainings offer the premise that although there are theoretically generational differences, there are just as many differences between generations as there are within each generation. This is important to note! Why is that? So that we don’t put others into a box! The guidelines of what incentivizes a Gen Y vs. a Gen X are very helpful! Additionally, what the core values are of each generation are is also important to note!
Even more than looking at “what does” and “what is,” “why” is an important question! Let’s look at the questions above…
“I can’t believe how entitled my millennial employees are, they expect to be able to work from home and move up immediately.”
Millennials have, as a generation, had supportive parents who have pushed them to succeed and put a lot on their plate in the process. That is, as teens, many Gen Ys were involved in college prep courses, soccer, dance lessons, and community service efforts, the more the better! Guess what? It served them well! They were able to accomplish so much in so little time and had great support behind them. Now, just what about that working remotely? Can you imagine Gen Ys being confined to a library or desk to study for their exams? That’s highly unlikely; they were more likely studying on the bus to their dance meet or in-between their many after school activities. Did “where” they were studying hinder them? Not from what we can tell!
“I don’t understand why my Gen X Colleague prefers to work alone, rather than work with me.”
Gen X has historically been known to be the “latch-key kid” generation. Many X’s had both parents working and therefore they had to learn to be self-sufficient early on. One rub that is clearly in play in this statement is the Generation Y’s desire to work with others in a team environment and Gen X’s independence. Many Gen X’s are only interested in what the end game for the initiative is; they would like to paint their own journey.
“Why do those baby boomers get along so well with the Gen Ys?”
Baby Boomers and Gen Y’s tend to be a natural fit for each other. The Gen Y’s are looking for teamwork, mentorship, and to make sure that everyone is included. The Baby Boomers want to mentor; they are hopeful and want to be part of a team that values their skills and all that they bring to the table. While the Gen X’s tend to be more independent, the Ys and Boomers enjoy the collaboration.
Exposure to expertise about generations can increase both understanding and appreciation of what all generations bring to the table! Diversity is often said to be a key ingredient to success. Generational diversity should be embraced!
-Dani Kimlinger, MHA, PHR, Human Resources
July 2014: Physical & Environmental Wellbeing
The World Around Us!
Welcome to the July issue of TotalWellbeing! We will be shifting gears this month as we look at our physical self and our place in the world around us as we introduce our next topics, physical and environmental wellbeing. These two aspects of wellbeing have a profound connection that cannot be ignored if we are to be able to sustain both ourselves as well as the environment. To explore this relationship more closely please read The Connection, below.
June saw some important updates on the MINES blog that focused on the ever-critical topic of resilience. One post from our case managers talked about the core essentials of what Resilience means and the importance of recognizing it in yourself and others. Then, if you’ve never heard the term “poley, poley, sippy, sippy” or climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, you need to read this inspirational story.
We wish you a happy and safe Independence Day this month, and look forward to bringing you more content and insight as we continue on through summer. To stay on top of it all please visit our blog, and follow us on our LinkedIn showcase pages to stay ahead of the curve.
To your total wellbeing,
The MINES Team
Physical & Environmental Wellbeing
|It is important to be aware of the fact that humans have a very real relationship between our physical selves and the environment. From the climate in which we live to the way that our workplace and homespace are constructed, there are real implications for our physical health. With this concept in mind the importance of taking care of ourselves as well as the world around us becomes evident.|
|The path to a healthier lifestyle often starts with your eating habits. With ChooseMyPlate.gov you can find tons of nutrition information, track your eating habits, physical activity, and more. All this helps to stay informed about what you are eating, and track the impact of your efforts to help your hard work pay off, plus it’s free!To access this tool, click here.||Weather and climate can have a profound effect on your health. We may not think about this every day, or at all, but the condition of the environment and climate is very much connected to allergies, diseases, air quality, and other critical health concerns. Check out this resource by the EPA to learn more.
To read the full article, click here.
MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication. MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!
A couple of weeks ago, as a board member of the American Diabetes Association in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, I had the privilege of discussing the psychological aspects of diabetes with the Denver CBS affiliate. I’ve included the link here. The following are highlights that are worth consideration.
There are a number of factors that can either enhance or undermine diabetes and other chronic illness management and wellbeing. Depression and/or anxiety can co-occur as a result of receiving one of these diagnoses. If untreated, patients with co-occurring diagnoses have difficulty following through on the numerous daily tasks required to live a healthy life with one or more of these chronic illnesses. In addition, from a payer’s perspective the cost of treatment are over 150% higher when depression co-occurs.
Who would not have some degree of depression or anxiety when faced with a life-long chronic illness to manage? How the person copes with the symptoms is an important variable. Cognitive-behavioral techniques related to adherence and relapse on self-care can be invaluable. Social support and social networks have always been important in managing chronic illness. Alcoholics Anonymous is a great example of peer support for the chronic illness of alcoholism. Patients with chronic illnesses face potential burn-out regarding both the illness and the complexities related to compliance. The social support network provides coping modeling from peers, support from family and friends, and social comparison ideas from others who are successful in managing their illness.
Sometimes, the illness combinations are so complicated that outside help is needed in the form of Intensive Case Management. This becomes necessary when there are multiple providers that need to be communicating about the patient, complex psychological elements that need to be addressed, and family systems that may be fragile or even undermining the patient’s care. Integrated behavioral health systems working in concert with medical systems, data mining, and other auxiliary providers significantly increase the chances for the patient and the payer to successfully manage the illness thereby increasing the patient’s quality of life.
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO and Psychologist
“Poley, Poley, Sippy, Sippy.” That’s what you hear from your porters when you climb Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s a mantra on the mountain. Translated it means, “slowly, slowly, sip, sip”, as a reminder to go slow, take one step at a time, take a sip of water and stay hydrated.
If you’ve ever set out to accomplish a goal, you know the importance of having a plan (a map with the route), having the resources (guides, food, and water), the determination (I WILL get to the top), resilience, and a positive attitude. All of those elements still come down to one step at a time and ultimately appreciating that the cumulative effect taking one step at a time leads you to some incredible places and experiences.
I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 1994 and it was one of the highlights of my time in Africa. I had just recovered from a very serious bout with falciparum malaria that manifested itself in the Himalayas of Nepal. I was evacuated out by helicopter from the Nepalese army and brought back to Kathmandu. From there I had to return to the United States to work with tropical infectious disease specialists and recover while my traveling companion stayed on and traveled solo.
Something stirred deep inside when I heard he was going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. All of a sudden, I heard myself say, “Well, if you’re going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, then I’m going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro”. A month later I got off the plane in Tanzania and we began putting our plan in place: meeting with guide companies, shopping for supplies, applying for the visa, and taking day trips to build our endurance for the climb ahead.
I hadn’t thought much about this adventure until a few weeks ago when I attended the International ASTD conference in Washington D.C. One of the breakout sessions I attended was called “Olympic Leadership” by Susan Goldsworthy, a former Olympic swimmer. I was captivated by the description which promised to share a model for reaching goals.
To my surprise, she talked about her experience climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and what an “Olympic” size challenge it was for her. It turned out, she was deathly afraid of heights! Wouldn’t you know it, there is a spot on the trail where you have to go around “hugging rock”. It’s called “hugging rock” because the only way around is to hug the rock while you make your way around a narrow trail with a very steep and very long drop off if you misstep.
She shared her “5D Framework” model for goal setting: Disruption, Desire, Discipline, Determination, and Development. Her “disruption” was turning 40 and she had the desire to push through her fear of heights. She was disciplined in her training and absolutely determined to make it to the top. Her development involved looking at some of her limiting beliefs, challenging some of her assumptions, and taking that practice of “poley, poley, sippy, sippy”, and applying it in other areas of her life.
For me, the disruption was coming down with a serious illness. My desire was to join my traveling companion and have a shared experience. I exercised discipline with my choices on the way to a healthy recovery. I was determined to make it to the top even when I started exhibiting symptoms of hypothermia. My development has also been about the importance of being able to take one step at a time and trust that it will take me to where I want to go! Another development for me was to embrace my curiosity about what the landscape looks like from a different perspective. I’ve continued to embrace that curiosity be it in my travels, relationships, or professional endeavors.
I invite you to look at the areas in your life where taking the “poley, poley, sippy, sippy” approach will serve you well. I’m always happy to confer and think out loud about where this approach can be useful and how to embrace an action plan that is all about one step at a time!
Here’s to getting to the top and enjoying the view!
June 2014: Financial & Social Wellbeing
Keeping Up with the Jones!
Welcome to the June issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we will conclude our examination of financial wellbeing while taking a closer look at our social wellbeing. This connection between these two concepts is a subtle yet incredibly powerful force that has a profound effect on our social connections, behavior, and even how we form assumptions about others we may or may not know. This effect can help bring some people together while creating tough social barriers between others, for examples of this see The Connection, below.
Now last month we had the usual barrage of information coming to the MINES blog, so just in case you missed anything let’s review. First up, an eye-opening experience of one of our team members inspired a post from Dr. Robert Mines highlighting the importance of compassion. Next up our organizational psychology team shared some inspiring words helping you make the most of your time. Finally, our expert case management team proved once again the power of resilience and that everyone has the power to bounce back.
As we move into summer we have much more to talk about. To stay on top of it all please visit our blog, lets us know what you think, and while you’re at it don’t forget to follow our brand new LinkedIn showcase pages.
To your total wellbeing,
The MINES Team
Financial & Social Wellbeing
|The relationship between your social wellbeing and financial wellbeing is the most obvious when you look at social circles. While this may not always be the case, more often than not people tend to associate themselves with others that have a similar financial standing. This can have negative social consequences when higher earning people look at lower income people as inferior, or conversely, when people view those that earn more than they do as pretentious or “snobby.” Celebrity and political social circles are excellent, yet extreme, examples of when financial and social status collide creating closed off sections, or sub-cultures, within our population.|
Financial Planning Made Easy
Anxiety & Support
|Game plans make everything easier. Finances are no different. Whether you need to assess your financial situation, set future goals, or even just set up a budget, these tools presented by betterment.com can help you make a plan and stick to it!To read the full article, click here.||Social anxiety is a powerful force that many people live with on a daily basis. This anxiety and fear can be very severe for some, however, no matter how bad it seems, understanding your condition and practicing techniques like these presented by helpguide.org can help ease the pressure.To read the full article, click here.|
|MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication. MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!|
What is it? Who has it? How does one get it? How does it relate to mental health and wellness?
I polled a few of my co-workers to get their perspective on definitions of resilience. One person stated that resilience is “the ability to absorb and cope with emotionally trying issues that come up and ‘bounce back’”. Another co-worker stated it is “the structural integrity to be able to withstand stress with minimal negative impact on the self”. Yet another co-worker added, “it’s like a rubber band—you can twist it, tie it, stretch it, throw it, roll it, snap it. When you stop messing with (stressing) it, it goes back to its original shape. The hope is that you can learn a variety of strategies to manage life so you can stay flexible.”
The above definitions of my co-workers are all similar but it is important to note the differences in meaning and perception. Everyone above works at a behavioral psychology firm and all have various understandings of behavioral and wellness issues. One person who provided a definition works in a Marketing department, one works in a front call center and screens all incoming calls and forwards them appropriately, and one works as a case manager, daily screening individuals/couples/families for mental health or substance abuse issues. While all have some knowledge on wellness and resilience, it is interesting to read the differing definitions depending on personal/professional experiences and their role in the company and with clients.
While most people do have some idea of what resilience means, that brings me to the next question: who has resilience? The simple and short answer is everyone; and everyone has different experiences and levels of resilience. However, there are some common characteristics that have been observed in people who seem to bounce back from trauma or even thrive after it while others crumble and really struggle. People can vary in the following qualities and this variation influences whether they have higher or lower levels of resilience.
- Flexibility – People who are observed as possessing higher levels of resilience are those who are flexible and adapt to new circumstances and thrive with change.
- Confidence – Going through trauma expecting to bounce back and having the confidence that getting better will happen.
- Awareness and Acceptance – An understanding that life is full of challenges and awareness of situations and reactions to them.
- Internal locus of control – Believing everyone has control of their own lives, and while some experiences are out of anyone’s control, knowing the power of choice in how to react to a certain situation lies with-in each individual.
On the other hand, people who tend to have lower levels of resilience tend to be less aware of their circumstances and their emotions and blame others for their challenges. They tend to have weak problem-solving skills and are unable to react beyond emotion to come up with logical, realistic solutions to experiences. These people are also less likely to ask for help when challenges arise and instead choose a “victim stance”.
When thinking about who has resilience, one might ask if people can obtain or even learn it. Given the answer to the previous question, it can be said that practicing these characteristics and developing the skills mentioned above can improve a person’s ability to deal with life challenges. When going through a crisis, people should ask themselves if they are utilizing these characteristics, or are they blaming others or not asking for help? Are they in control and aware of their situation or are they playing victim to life?
One thought that comes up is whether or not people are born with certain levels of resilience. How can two people born to the same parents and raised in the same circumstance grow up with one struggling in life and the other seeming to be completely successful? Researching this question will bring mixed results. There are some that say people are born with higher levels, and others that state resilience can be learned, practiced, and improved.
I think it is important to note that practicing the skills that lead toward higher levels of resilience are useful skills of life in general, and should be what people strive for whether it is for higher resilience or not.
The final question is how levels of resilience relate to mental health and wellness issues. Everyone at some point in life will struggle: with choices, grief, life transitions, emotions, and the list can go on and on. People struggle in life, relationships and in connections with themselves.
Let’s examine levels of resilience with the specific issue of grief. Whether it is due to the loss of a loved one, pet, job, or relationship, humans experience grief at some point in life. And while grief is a universal process, it is very individualistic. No two people experience grief in exactly the same way. Most have heard of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. No one goes through them in a linear process; instead, it’s often related to a roller coaster. Emotions go up and down and back and forth and the only real way to heal is to go through them all and accept the emotions as they come.
Resilience is an important part of the grief process as well. In applying the skills listed above for resilience, we can see that it helps people accept that grief happens in life and helps them make the choice to ask for help, either from family and friends, or from a professional. Having resilience means grievers have control over how they react to grief and they know they will be okay; that right now is hard but it will get better with time.
Resilience can be applied to mental health and wellness issues in how people are able to go through some sort of challenge or struggle and know they will be okay as long as they can accept that struggle is part of life and learn to accept their emotions as they come without judgment.
Resilience means knowing that life changes and is hard at times, and being able to make healthy choices in the effort to “bounce back” and still be okay. Everyone has this ability and it can be learned and practiced and improved. It is a very important part of mental health and wellness, and making the choice to improve resilience skills can improve one’s quality of life.
The Case Management Team